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Third Time’s a Charm – Lowell redirects outcome in district soccer semifinal win over Northview

The song goes “two out of three ain’t bad.”

Following its 2-1 double-overtime district semifinal win over Northview Wednesday night at Forest Hills Northern High School,  however, Lowell learned that the one can be pretty darn good.

Lowell and Northview have played three times this year. In their first meeting the two clubs battled through two overtimes to a 1-1- tie. They needed double overtime in game two before Northview earned a 2-1 victory and with it an O-K White Conference championship

“Give Northview a lot of credit. You could scramble these two clubs up and not come up with any closer games,” said Lowell boys soccer coach Rich O’Keefe.  “The games were all eerily similar. They won the last game on a free kick and we won tonight on a corner kick.”

The Red Arrow win advances Lowell to the district final against Forest Hills Northern on Saturday. The Huskies were winners in Wednesday’s second semifinal game against Forest Hills Eastern.

Lowell’s winning goal was scored with less than four minutes to play in the second overtime when Jeremy Wodarek redirected a Spencer Lyon corner kick into the Northview net.

“I was at the right place at the right time,” Wodarek recalled afterwards. “It was a real good corner kick by Spencer and I was able to slide it by their goalie.”

It was the senior’s  fourth goal of the year, but none felt as good. “We knew if we executed we could do it.  It feels great.”

Lowell took the lead in the opening half of play when Wodarek assisted Joe Sweet on the game’s first goal.

“it was a really good night. We knew we did not want  to lose again like we did last time” Sweet said.”This is a really good, competitive rivalry.”

The Lowell senior said the Red Arrows had the wind to their backs in the first half and in the second overtime. “Going against the wind was tough. So having it at your back was like a momentum builder.”

Northview’s only goal of the game came in the first half when Nedim Mehanovic scored a tying goal.

Red Arrow goalie Liam Kelly recorded three saves on the night.

“We felt confident coming in,” O’Keefe explained. “I thought we had our legs going into overtime and were able to create some opportunities. The boys did a good job of just focusing on taking care of business.”

With the exception of a free kick, Northview did not get a shot off over the game’s final three-and-half minutes.

“Our approach changed in those final minutes. You become more defensive minded, not wanting to overplay,” O’Keefe said. “The boys have worked hard all year to achieve their goal of a district title.”

On Saturday, the Red Arrows will have an opportunity to realize that goal.

“We have a formidable opponent in Forest Hills Northern. They are a younger team, but similar to Northview,” O’Keefe explained.

Similar opponents include Northview, East Grand Rapids and Greenville.The Huskies beat the Yellow Jackets but tied the Wildcats and the Pioneers.